Igor Gusev (Odesa), 1975-present
Series 3 World War. Mixed media on book covers and art reproductions, 2022.
Igor Gusev is a painter, poet, author of performances, films, objects and installations, leader of the movement “Art Raiders,” and founder of the underground gallery “Norma.”
Before the Russian invasion, the Odesa-born artist achieved considerable success at home and abroad with his haunting, dreamlike paintings. The invasion led to a new turn in Gusev’s art, and a fairy tale figured in a drawing he published on Facebook on the first day of the invasion -- the first work in what he calls “Series 3 World War 2022.” In one of the series, Lenin’s tomb is walking on chicken legs dripping blood with “the Russians are coming” beneath the image: a mummified past approaching, reminiscent of Slavic folklore villain Baba Yaga. Some of Gusev’s works have been displayed at Odesa’s central Book Market, which has become a popular meeting spot -- a venue for jazz concerts and theater performances -- as the city seeks to come back to life after the initial shock caused by the war, despite continued attacks.